History of Hastings
From its early beginnings, Hastings was shaped by its surrounding geography & water resources. Located at the junction of the St. Croix & Mississippi Rivers, with the nearby Vermillion River Falls to provide water power, Hastings was a shipping and milling center for many years. With a deep water harbor, steamboats could unload goods & passengers easily.
Crossing over the rivers were several bridges: the Covered Bridge south of town, the swing RR bridge (one of the first iron RR bridges in Minnesota) & the absolutely unique Spiral Bridge over the Mississippi River. s largest ethnic group, the Germans. The surrounding farmland provided incentive for generations of immigrants, and many of our farms continue today as Century Farms.
Serving as Dakota County Seat, Hastings offered its citizens many amenities from opera houses, an early library system, several health care facilities, an extensive parks system, numerous churches and public and private educational choices, include post-secondary opportunities.
With nearby highway linkages, Hastings has evolved into a suburb of the Twin Cities but retains its small town, rivertown characteristics.
A History of Preservation
The skyline of Hastings still reflects the vision that five individuals had for this picturesque Mississippi River town more than one hundred and fifty years ago. As they laid out the original town plan, these founders hoped its strategic location on the Mississippi would make Hastings a distribution point for wheat and other goods, and they dreamed of the convergence of steamboat and rail routes. Today, a fine collection of historic buildings record the progress of the community into the twenty-first century. The 1871 Dakota County Courthouse, rehabilitated in 1993 as the Hastings City Hall, and the rehabilitation of the 1862 LeDuc House as a museum in 2004, are prominent symbols of the success of community planning and historic preservation in the community.
Through many kinds of preservation activities, the City of Hastings has long recognized that our historic setting along with our cultural and historic resources are valuable community assets. These assets contribute to the city’s economy in many ways, and greatly enhance its character, sustainability, and overall quality of life. At the heart of the city, the nearly fifty handsome historic buildings along East Second Street (Hastings’ Main Street) are being adapted to meet the needs of twenty-first-century retailers and other tenants. In the residential neighborhoods, residents have maintained the value of their historic property through sensitive maintenance and restoration. While historic houses, commercial buildings, and churches constitute the core of the city’s cultural resources, there are also many other kinds of historic properties, including archaeological sites, bridges, and landscapes that are worthy of preservation.